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ELECTRONICALLY FILED - 2018 Jul 03 4:29 PM - WILLIAMSBURG - COMMON PLEAS - CASE#2018CP4500244

STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA )


) IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS
COUNTY OF WILLIAMSBURG )

L.G., individually and as the parent and )


natural guardian of JANE DOE, a minor, ) C.A. No. 2018-CP-45-00244
)
Plaintiff, ) ANSWER AND AFFIRMATIVE
) DEFENSES
vs. )
)
Williamsburg County School District, )
)
Defendant. )
)
)

Defendant Williamsburg County School District (“District”) by and through its

undersigned counsel, hereby responds to the Complaint of Plaintiffs, and deny each and every

allegation of the Complaint except as may be expressly admitted herein, and further responds to

the specific allegations of Plaintiff's Complaint, in accordance with the numbered paragraphs

thereof, as follows:

PARTIES, JURISDICTION, AND VENUE

1. Admitted, upon information and belief.

2. Admitted.

3. Admitted.

4. Admitted, upon information and belief.

5. Admitted.

6. Admitted.

FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

7. Admitted in part and denied in part. Defendant admits only that minor Plaintiff

was a student at Kingstree Middle Magnet School on February 26, 2016, and after being found in
ELECTRONICALLY FILED - 2018 Jul 03 4:29 PM - WILLIAMSBURG - COMMON PLEAS - CASE#2018CP4500244
a restroom with a male student minor Plaintiff reported that a male student sexually assaulted

her. Defendant also admits that the male student’s identity is known. Any remaining allegations

in Paragraph 7 are denied.

8. Denied.

9. Denied.

10. Denied.

11. Admitted.

12. Denied.

13. Admitted in part and denied in part. Defendant admits that the male student told

administrators that he went to the restroom to get his money from the minor Plaintiff. The

remaining allegations are denied.

14. Denied.

15. Denied.

16. Denied.

17. Denied for lack of knowledge.

18. Denied.

19. Admitted.

20. Denied for lack of knowledge.

21. Admitted upon information and belief.

22. Denied.

23. Denied as stated.

24. Denied.

25. Denied.

26. Denied.

27. Defendant admits only that alleged victim 1 reported that she was allegedly

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ELECTRONICALLY FILED - 2018 Jul 03 4:29 PM - WILLIAMSBURG - COMMON PLEAS - CASE#2018CP4500244
assaulted in the restroom.

28. The allegations of Paragraph 28 are denied to the extent that they contain legal

conclusions regarding whether a sexual assault occurred. Remaining allegations are denied for

lack of knowledge.

29. Denied.

30. The allegations of Paragraph 30 are denied to the extent that they contain legal

conclusions regarding whether a sexual assault occurred.

31. Admitted upon information and belief.

32. Admitted in part and denied in part. Defendant admits only that Assistant

Principal Burgess and Principal Gadsden met with law enforcement regarding alleged Victim 1’s

allegations and attempted to address their questions. All remaining allegations are denied.

33. Denied for lack of knowledge.

34. Admitted upon information and belief.

35. Denied.

36. Denied.

37. Denied.

38. Denied.

39. Denied.

40. Denied.

41. Denied.

42. Denied.

43. Denied.

44. Denied.

45. Denied.

46. Denied.

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ELECTRONICALLY FILED - 2018 Jul 03 4:29 PM - WILLIAMSBURG - COMMON PLEAS - CASE#2018CP4500244
47. Denied.

48. Denied.

CAUSE OF ACTION
Gross Negligence- Tort Claims Act

49. Defendant incorporates by reference its response to paragraphs 1 through 48

above.

50. Denied as stated. Defendant admits only that its duties and responsibilities

towards its students, including minor Plaintiff, are defined and controlled by the South Carolina

Tort Claims Act and any other applicable state or federal law, and Defendant refers to those laws

as the best source concerning its duties and responsibilities to students. Any remaining

allegations contained in this paragraph are denied.

51. Denied as stated. Defendant admits only that its duties and responsibilities

towards its students, including minor Plaintiff, are defined and controlled by the South Carolina

Tort Claims Act and any other applicable state or federal law, and Defendant refers to those laws

as the best source concerning its duties and responsibilities to students. Any remaining

allegations contained in this paragraph are denied.

52. Denied.

53. Denied.

54. Denied, including all subparts thereof.

55. Denied.

56. Denied.

57. Denied.

CAUSE OF ACTION
Outrage

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ELECTRONICALLY FILED - 2018 Jul 03 4:29 PM - WILLIAMSBURG - COMMON PLEAS - CASE#2018CP4500244
58. Defendant incorporates by reference its response to paragraphs 1 through 58

above.

59. Denied, including all subparts thereof.

60. Denied.

61. Denied.

62. Denied.

CAUSE OF ACTION
Defamation-Slander

63. Defendant incorporates by reference its response to paragraphs 1 through 62

above.

64. Admitted.

65. Denied.

66. Denied.

67. Denied.

FIRST AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE

Defendant is immune from liability under Section 15-78-60(5) of the Tort Claims Act to

the extent Plaintiffs’ alleged injuries resulted, if at all, from Defendant’s exercise of discretion or

judgment or Defendant’s performance or failure to perform an act or service that is in its

discretion or judgment.

SECOND AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE

Defendant is immune from liability under Section 15-78-60(25) of the Tort Claims Act to

the extent Plaintiffs’ alleged injuries resulted, if at all, from an exercise of Defendant’s

responsibility or duty to supervise, protect, and control its students and/or employees, and did not

exercise this responsibility or duty in a grossly negligent matter.

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THIRD AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE

Plaintiffs’ claims are subject to the South Carolina Tort Claims Act's limitations and

immunities with respect to causes of action and liability, including §§15-78-40, and -70.

FOURTH AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE

Defendant pleads as a further bar to and limitation on this action each and every

provision of the South Carolina Tort Claims Act, including the limitations on damages and the

exceptions to the waiver of sovereign immunity.

FIFTH AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE

Any claims for punitive damages are subject to, limited by, and governed by the due

process clause of the United States Constitution and by the South Carolina constitution.

SIXTH AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE

Plaintiffs failed to mitigate their damages, if any.

SEVENTH AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE

Any injury claimed to have been sustained by Plaintiffs was not proximately caused by

an act of Defendant, but rather was due to the intervening, independent, and intentional act of a

third person; said act being the sole, proximate and direct cause of Plaintiffs’ alleged injuries, for

which Defendant is not liable.

EIGHTH AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE

Defendant is not liable to the extent that the Complaint and each and every cause of

action in the Complaint fails to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action or to state a

claim upon which relief can be granted against Defendant.

NINTH AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE

Any recovery allegedly due to the Plaintiffs, which is denied, is limited to no more than

the amount of damages set forth as recoverable under the Tort Claims Act.

TENTH AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE

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ELECTRONICALLY FILED - 2018 Jul 03 4:29 PM - WILLIAMSBURG - COMMON PLEAS - CASE#2018CP4500244
Defendant is immune from liability under the Tort Claims Act to the extent that

Plaintiffs’ injuries are alleged to have resulted from the adoption, enforcement, or compliance

with any law, charter, provision, ordinance, resolution, rule, regulation, or written policy, or the

failure to adopt or enforce any law, charter, provision, ordinance, resolution, rule, regulation, or

written policy.

ELEVENTH AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE

To the extent Plaintiffs’ attempt to state a claim for outrage/intentional infliction and

negligent infliction of emotional distress, these claims are barred by the South Carolina Tort

Claims Act because such claims are excluded by the statute’s definition of “loss.”

WHEREFORE, having fully answered Plaintiffs’ complaint, Defendant respectfully

prays that this Court dismiss this action in its entirety and award Defendant its costs and a

reasonable attorney's fee as permitted by law.

Respectfully submitted,

HALLIGAN MAHONEY WILLIAMS SMITH


FAWLEY & REAGLE, PA

By: s/ Vernie L. Williams


Vernie L. Williams, S.C. Bar No. 9511
vwilliams@hmwlegal.com

P.O. Box 11367


Columbia, South Carolina 29211
(803) 254-4035

Attorney for Defendant

July 3, 2018
Columbia, South Carolina